Another full slate of midweek games meant Week 9 of the MLS regular season was another chance for Homegrowns throughout the league to shine.
At Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tyler Wolff came on for Ezequiel Barco in the 61st minute to make his MLS debut. The 17-year-old son of Austin FC coach Josh Wolff, who previously played one professional match for Atlanta United 2 on March 8, impressed Atlanta interim coach Stephen Glass.
“I thought he was excellent on his debut,” Glass said. “He possibly had an opportunity to score a goal if the delivery was slightly better. But I think in terms of his composure and how he worked for the team, he showed a good understanding of what we want and I’m sure there is more to come from him. He’ll be excited he made his debut.”
There were a few other highlights as well.
At the center of Sporting Kansas City’s midfield in a 1-1 home draw against FC Dallas were a trio of Homegrown players. Eighteen-year-old Gianluca Busio started a fourth game in his new deep-lying role with 22-year-old Felipe Hernandez and 19-year-old Cameron Duke in front of him — both earning their first MLS start of the year.
Hernandez assisted on Khiry Shelton’s equalizer in first-half stoppage time. And Jaylin Lindsey, a 20-year-old Homegrown, earned his fourth consecutive start at right back. When you add in substitute Daniel Salloi, that’s five players who came up through the SKC academy.
GOAL: Khiry Shelton, Sporting Kansas City - 48th minute
“As the game wore on, they became less thinking and more instinctive which is what you want to get to,” SKC coach Peter Vermes said of the Homegrown midfield trio. “They started to get into that rhythm and routine that you’re expecting so that when the ball moves, when do you actually leave the line and go out and pressure the ball. Their timing got better as the game went on. They did a good job.”
Five Homegrowns stepped on the field for D.C. United in a massive 1-0 Atlantic Cup win over the New York Red Bulls. Seventeen-year-old Kevin Paredes and 20-year-old Donovan Pines both made their fourth consecutive starts, while Ben Olsen brought on 16-year-old Moses Nyeman, who made his second MLS appearance, and 17-year-old Griffin Yow, while 21-year-old Estonian Erik Sorga scored the winner at the death.
For the Red Bulls, 21-year-old Homegrown Omir Fernandez picked up his second consecutive start.
It was a long time coming for Joe Scally, but after an injury-riddled 2019 season, the 17-year-old finally made his MLS debut in a short substitute appearance to close out New York City FC’s 2-0 win over the New England Revolution.
“With the injury it was a setback. It was all a waiting game,” said Scally, who will be heading to Borussia Mönchengladbach in January 2021. “I was patient and kept my mindset right. I focused on the things I needed to work on and it all led up to today. I won't forget this day."
There was also a starring performance and a goal for LA Galaxy's 18-year-old midfielder Efrain Alvarez, who helped his team to a 3-2 win at the Portland Timbers with a fine 15th-minute strike.
GOAL: Efrain Alvarez, LA Galaxy - 15th minute